Gulf Restoration Network Concerned With BP Controlled Sampling, Restrictions Of Independent MonitoringNew Orleans, LA- The Gulf Restoration Network (GRN) has been engaged in continued independent monitoring of the situation in the Gulf. GRN flyovers by plane and excursions by sea have allowed for an independent survey and analysis as the BP oil drilling disaster continues.According to Cynthia Sarthou, Executive Director of GRN, “Although we continue to hear from the federal agencies that they are overseeing BP’s actions, throughout the Gulf we are hearing about undue control being exerted by BP of activities associated with this spill. Specifically, GRN is concerned that BP is inappropriately controlling access to areas where oil is reaching the shore and trained professional’s access to affected birds, wildlife and marine life, instead relying on BP funded contractors to find oiled species and notifying the appropriate responders” creating a clear conflict of interest. GRN is equally concerned that BP is asserting ownership of all data collection completed by any organization or agency with funding provided by them, and is restricting access to allow independent data collection, sampling, and testing of water and soil. “Further, GRN questions why BP has continually refused requests to share video footage of the subsurface leaks at the site where the oil continues to flow into the open waters of the gulf. GRN believes that this footage should be made public immediately.Although we understand the need to ensure that BP pays for all cleanup efforts, GRN is calling on federal agencies to assume more leadership in the cleanup efforts, as well as establish short and long-term independent monitoring of impacts in the affected area, provide public access to all data collected, and ensure free access to affected areas by independent organizations. We are concerned that the true impact to marine and coastal wildlife has not been accurately portrayed and that BP’s ownership and restriction over this type of data will only get in the way of needed immediate action to protect the natural resources of the Gulf of Mexico.The Gulf Restoration Network is a diverse network of local, regional, and national groups and individuals dedicated to uniting and empowering people to protect and restore the valuable resources of the Gulf of Mexico. The GRN has members in the five Gulf States of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.